This paper sets out to explore the impact of extreme climatic shocks --such as excessive rain and drought-- on the onset of conflict in colonial Nigeria. Based on primary sources, a within country empirical analysis is conducted to highlight the effects that extreme weather fluctuations cause in each district of Nigeria over time. Those fluctuations are expected to place increased pressure on Nigerian agriculture (e.g. food shortage, famines) and may well be an important cause of social conflict through increased resource competition over cropland and pastures. The results indicate that climatic shocks have a nonlinear (U-shape) correlation and significantly impact on incidents of conflict. To add robustness to the findings, information from primary (qualitative) sources -such as newspapers, military and police reports- were used to confirm the substantial impact a climatic shock had both on food shortage and on sharp increases of crop prices, as well as its consequential impact on the onset of conflict. Moreover, this result is strongest where agro-ecological zones are least resilient (e.g. guinea and sudan savannah) to climatic variability.
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